French luxury watch brand Pequignet has announced it has gone into administration in its home country, following the costly development of its own in-house manufactory.
The brand has now been taken over by the local government in the Besancon area of France, and will be under observation for six months while the jobs of its 47 workers are protected. During this time a buyer for the company – or its manufactory – will be sought.
A story on French website France3.fr concerning the news said: “For the moment nothing will change for the employees. On the other hand, if the accounts of the corporation do not improve [before] October, there could be a social plan.”
France3 added that the news was “rather surprising” for the general public, however when the company decided to launch its own manufactory in-house several years ago, it has been suggested it was too big a job for an independent company.
Pequignet UK distributor and brand manager Guy Allen said: “It’s difficult because in the UK the brand has been profitable and has grown about seven times over in the past five years.
“The manufactory part of the business cost a lot of money to do. It was a reaction to the ETA situation but since October last year the company has struggled to find further financial backing for the manufactory.”
Allen told WatchPro he is unsure of what will happen to the brand in the UK as news from France has been limited, but said a number of buyers have shown interest in Pequignet, and its manufactory in particular.
The brand was founded by Emile Péquignet in 1973 and was re-purchased in 2004 by Didier Leibundgut. At present the brand employs 47 people has last year posted sales of 8 million Euros (£6.5m) of sales.